Westminster's Department of Planning, Zoning and Development Director Thomas Beyard, 56, departed for a 400-day rotation with the Maryland Army National Guard in late summer.
Beyard joined the Guard in 1997 after years with the Army Reserve. He has worked for the city of Westminster for close to 24 years.
Until his return, his position is being filled by interim Director Steve Horn.
Beyard sends occasional correspondence to Patch and we will post his letters and photos as we receive them. And Mr. Beyard, if you read this, Happy Thanksgiving to you and stay safe!
Thanksgiving greetings from Taji, Iraq. Today was a day of great preparation and anticipation of tommorrow's Thanksgiving Day holiday. Thanksgiving is a special day for all of us, but it is also a very special day in the Army. Army dining facilities will be decorated for the ocassion and the food will be very special and in keeping with the holiday spirit. Menus will include all the item tradtional items that you will find on any dinner table in America. Commanders and leaders will serve food for their Soldiers and it will be very nice.
For me, my unit has Soldiers in a number of locations. I will travel to another location so I can spend Thanksgiving Day with my Soldiers there. I remember doing this during my last deployment in 2006 on Thanksgiving Day and it was a great experience. I plan to help serve, as well as just spend time with our great Soldiers. I will represent my commander, as he will be doing the same as me in other locations.
We remain very busy with our mission as the war draws to a close. Iraq is still a dangerous place, but we are vigilant and watchful as to what goes on around us. We take care of each other, always using the buddy system, so we always have a friend at our side. It is the only way we do business.
In closing, be great and enjoy the special family day of Thanksgiving. After recently having a great dinner with a group of Iraqi officers, I can say that Iraqis are very thankful to America for the opportunity to have freedom and the potential for prosperity. They fully understand the sacrifices our Soldiers made on their behalf.
I have attached some photos from Iraq. One is of me flying to Al Asad, in western Iraq. One photo is me on top of one of Saddam's former political headquarters with Baghdad in the background. The final photo are the famous crossed sabers in Baghdad. Enjoy!